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Friday, April 30, 2010

Railroad Crossing at Pier 11

Railroad Crossing at Pier 11, Astoria, Oregon April 24, 2010

The only railroad that crosses Pier 11's wooden pier these days is the Riverfront Trolley. I love the remnants of the industrial district here, although remnants is mostly what they are. On a typical day, you'll find tourists or locals out for a walk, bike ride, run, walking the dog(s), or wandering around with a camera.

We've been having a lot of this changeable weather lately: gray skies, blue skies, towering white clouds, pouring rain, and those in-between moments when the sun breaks through the clouds and lights up the land or water.

Notes from The (Weather) Underground for Portland: ...Record number of rainy days for April...A passing shower in the past two hours has now tipped April into the record books. In April 2010... Portland Airport has recorded 25 days with at least 0.01 inch of rain. The previous record was 24 days... set in 2003. Normally... Portland can expect 15 such days for April.

I don't know how the statistics look for Astoria, and we are on the coast and a distance from Portland, but I'd been thinking that April seemed extremely wet this year. One of my fellow bloggers in Florida says their dry season has been extremely wet, and now everyone is wondering what they're going to do with the water now that the wet season is at hand. At least here, it runs into the river and ocean. I'm not sure what the cumulative effect is.
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shallon Winery

Shallon Winery, Astoria, Oregon The Shallon Winery at 16th Street and Duane sits only one block and a few paces from the riverbank, but you can get an idea of how high it is above the level of the water from the slope of 16th Street. This intersection is where I took the photo of light glinting off of spiderweb-like repairs in the street. In fact, if you follow the link, you'll see what the winery is or is not sitting on. I'll bet this makes for an interesting basement.

Meet the building (Mediterranean), the winemaker (Paul), the wines, and dreams of lighter-than-air craft on Shallon's own web site. It's a fun and interesting read. Choclolate wine? Check it out. You'll also learn the unusual source of the winery's name.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wheelhouse Coffee Company: A Nice Place to Drop in any Day

One of my favorite places along the River Walk is the Wheelhouse. We'll go inside in a minute, but notice the sign in the window for Tillamook Ice Cream. Tillamook is just down the coast, and you can tour the factory, buy locally-made cheese, ice cream, etc. The products are almost local to Astoria, and they're really good.

A few steps further along the River Walk, and we're beckoned inside. Who can resist?

This is the entryway. "14th Street Pilot Station" is the name of the building, and "Wheelhouse Coffee" is the name of the business. The open area with chairs is a place where anyone can come and sit, sip your coffee or brain freeze, eat ice cream, a slice of pie, a sandwich, a cookie, and look out the windows to some of Astoria's greatest attractions. Bonus points: you stay dry even when it's raining.

This is one view from the covered seating area above. You can see the green and white pilot boat in the dock. On the left is Baked Alaska, another of Astoria's excellent landmark eateries.

Turning slightly east and through the same windows, you can see a bigger dock where tug and tow boats are often found. Today there's no-one in the dock, so you get a clear view past the parked trucks to the 12th Street Waterfront Park (a pier and river-viewing station). The red building on the left belongs to the river pilots. Note the blue sky in the last direction, and clouds this way. It's so typical.

Inside The Wheelhouse . . . well, just take your pick. You'll meet the owner, Elise, her mom, or another helper at the counter. Everyone is very friendly and helpful, and that's one of the reasons it's always a pleasure to come here. The sign says, "If it wasn't for coffee, I'd have no personality at all." I hope that isn't true, because mine is typically a decaf.

Wheelhouse Coffee is new within the last few years. I remember before they opened, I said that what Astoria needs is a coffee house with couches. I got my wish, and there are a couple of them now. However, especially in colder weather, I usually sit at these bar tables by the window and look out at the town and the River Walk.

The decor is real stuff, like this life preserver from one of the bar pilot boats. Besides nautical things, there are usually wonderful photos of Astoria and the Columbia River as well as buyable art.

After a nice cup of coffee and a moment in the sun, you walk out between the counter with home baked cookies on the rack and a cabinet featuring pies and oatmal cake made by Elise's mom. Good luck getting past without buying something! Elise's mom is a fantastic baker. Well, back to work. Be back soon.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spots of Light

Osburn-O'Brien Building, 14th and Commercial, Astoria, Oregon A few days ago, we were walking to meet someone for dinner, and I noticed spots of light playing on the side of the Osburn-O'Brien building at the corner of 14th and Commercial Streets. It was so cool, I had to stop and take a picture. However, we were running late due to something that had gone wrong with my accounting software, and my companion was saying, "Come on, we're late." I'm probably saying, "This will just take a second. Look at that light!" My question is, has that happened to you? Have you ever had the compulsion to take that one important photo despite running late? Or does someone ask you to wait while they take "just one more picture"?

Actually, I'm lucky. I can remember my mom wanting to pull over and take pictures on our vacations, and my dad was not interested in stopping. Lee and I both enjoy taking photos, and he's always willing to pull the car over, stop on our walks, or drive to someplace especially photogenic. However, this time we were late, and I was the compulsive with the camera. I expect the theme is universal. Have you been there?

Notes on buildings: The building on the corner was the scene for this post. The reflections are from the Astor Hotel across the street, and the building in the distance is this one, which used to be the food Co-op (moved to a new building), and has just become home of Deja Vu, a charity thrift shop. The link shows its old location, which I found to be especially nice to photograph, so I'm glad I took the pix while they were still at that address. (Or maybe Deja Vu has expanded? I'll check it out.)

A further note: For those of you who have been following Lee's Amizade Adventure, although the trip is over, the blog lives on. Check out its new incarnation.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Closer View of Young's Bay Bridge

Young's Bay Bridge - crossing between Warrenton and Astoria, Oregon Yesterday I was the passenger, so I managed to get a shot that wasn't totally blurred or with the top of the bridge out of the frame. Although there are places to pull over, the bridge is narrow and I'm not sure whether stopping in a non-emergency is a ticketable offense. I expect it may be, as I never see anyone stopped unless they're broken down.

This drawbridge crosses Young's Bay from Warrenton to Astoria, the direction we're traveling in the photo, and vice-versa. In the the background you can see the much more famous and often-photographed Astoria-Megler Bridge. On the hill to the right is a residential part of Astoria overlooking Young's Bay. To the left is the Columbia River. Every once in awhile I've seen the drawbridge raised for fishing boats that are too tall for the bridge, but I've only had to stop once or twice.

I've shown the bridge from a distance in several earlier photos:

. From the Warrenton side
. From the Astoria side
. From the top of the Astoria Column (top photo)

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dressed for the Fest

The Trolls Nook Crab and Seafood Decor In the window of The Troll's Nook in Astoria (on 12th Street between Marine Drive and Commercial), you can find a crab-patterned bib that will keep your shirt clean while you pull your dinner apart at the Crab and Seafood Festival with gloved fingers and a wooden block. Allen, one of the owners, can be see inside the store on the left. The crab on top of the gold lamé head came from my store, and it was funny how it happened. The owners searched the Internet for plastic crabs, and where in the world do you think they found them? Two blocks away in Astoria! I hand-delivered the merchandise, and that's how we met.

The Trolls Nook Crab and Seafood DecorThe decor and featured items, of course, are in keeping with the weekend's crab and seafood festivities. I'll be watching this window for more fun displays as the seasons and events roll through Astoria.

On another topic, I want to thank Elleda Rhiannonn Wilson and The Daily Astorian for the flattering write-up of this blog in Elleda's "In One Ear" column on Friday, April 23. It was quite a thrill to read it!

See more Weekend Reflections from around the world.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Flavor of the Crab Festival

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 Yesterday evening marked the beginning of the weekend Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival held each year by the Chamber of Commerce at the county fairgrounds, about seven or eight minutes' drive out of Astoria. An inventive bus driver had created this mini crab pot as a tip jar.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 For this event, the parking lot at the fairgrounds was unavailable, and seafood- and wine-lovers hopped converted schoolbuses from varous points around town. It was a good thing they did it this way based on the "cheer" level of many of the folks on the bus ride home. We caught a bus on the Dungeness Route at the Red Lion Inn near the Port Docks.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 There was another stop at the far side of the Red Lion. You can see what the weather was like.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 I don't know if these ducks were fed up with the rain or what, but they were heading south.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 Signs along the route. We're approaching the traffic circle on the west side of town.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 This sign is out of context, since we didn't pass it on the bus, but I'd taken its photo earlier in the day coming back into town from Warrenton.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 Stacy, our bus driver, was very nice. She probably would have let me take her photo in the wonderful crab hat worn by the drivers, but I didn't ask. OK, maybe this year I'll get braver about photographing people. Just because I prefer to be behind the lens doesn't mean everyone is camera shy. (Note to self.)

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 There was a big turnout for a small town. I heard someone's estimate that there were 2,000 people there, but I really don't know. This was one of the tents erected next to the permanent building. It's a good thing they thought to put up shelters.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 I liked the crab baloon in this booth, although the photo of it didn't come out very well. I was trying not to lose someone in the crowd.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 There were areas for food and areas for booths selling art and crafts, mainly crab-, sea-, and wine-related.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 We went back around through the displays and the food, a little disoriented by the added tent and the crowd, and came out into the rain and only then found what's usually the main entrance to events at the fairgrounds. Our bus had taken us in through an alternate entrance, and that's where we'd gotten a yummy hot crab and cheese melt. After poking around a bit in the main building and talking to friends, we were ready to head back.

Astoria-Warrenton Wine, Crab and Seafood Festival 2010 This is where it was helpful to know which bus you'd come in on. They'd made it pretty simple for those going home with a higher blood alcohol level than they arrrived with. You only had to remember one thing. Am I a crab, a salmon, a tuna, or a halibut? The system seemed to work pretty well.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy First Birthday, AODP!

Astoria Downtown Welcome SignI knew that if I kept at it, it had to happen. Today is Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo's first birthday! Yes! I started my posts with this photo of the Astoria welcome sign at the east end of town near Safeway, and today I'm posting the "Welcome to Downtown Astoria" painted sign where you approach the old downtown area at 15th Street. Beneath the sign it says, "National Register Historic District." Marine Drive is on the right, and Commercial Street is on the left. Here you enter Astoria's one-way grid, so all traffic on the right is going west, and all traffic on the left is going east.

Beyond the grass is 15th Street, and the cream-colored building in the center is Area Properties, a business that Lee built with his nephew, Larry. Larry has moved on to other things and Lee has retired. Barbann and her daughter Meagan own it now. You can't see it very well in this pic, but on the right of the photo among the small roofs is my business, Tapir and Friends Animal Store. Lee and I didn't meet this way, but it's a small town and we happened to end up with our businesses facing each other.

Marine Drive and Commercial Street, Astoria, Oregon Here's the back side of the sign. Just beyond the point of the traffic island, the lanes converge and the one-way grid ends. You're looking at the river on the left, but it's hard to recognize it.

There's still so much to see, I feel as if I've barely touched the surface of this incredible area. Not only are there many, many parts of the town still to photograph, but the nearby outlying areas are a wealth of interest and beauty as well. In yesterday's comments, Costas asked how many such beautiful places I was still hiding. The answer is, "Lots."

In the last few days, Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo has gained its 700th fan on Facebook, and today the blog appears in Elleda Rhiannon Wilson's "In One Ear" column in the The Daily Astorian. It's been fun receiving your comments and letters. I want to thank every one of you for your interest and kind thoughts.

Wandering around town with a camera gives me an excuse to walk that extra distance to check something out, or to put on my shoes when I might stay hunkered down in front of the computer. It gives me a reason to put words to those things I look at in the course of a day, week, year. It fills a creative niche and makes me happy. And last, but clearly not least, I've made a number of very interesting and wonderful friends through this blog who all have something in common: even with different visions, we share a way of looking thoughtfully through a lens and sharing our perceptions of the world. What more can I ask? I'm up for another year of exploring. Want to enjoy it with me? I hope so.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hardly Disappointing

Deadman's Cove, Cape Disappointment, Washington Deadman's Cove ~ September 14, 2008
Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington

About half an hour's drive from downtown Astoria, across the Columbia River, and past Ilwaco, you come to a trailhead in Cape Disappointment State Park. Not far along, the trail opens onto this incredible cove that looks like it was designed for a pirate movie. There's an even more romantic touch than you can see here - a small island within the cove bearing artistically-placed rocks and trees. Mother Nature did an outstanding job. (Hollywood, eat your heart out!) The cove opens onto the Columbia River, but it's not too far from the ocean. In fact, it's very near the natural mouth of the river before the jetties were built.

I imagine this location has been used in a number of films, but I couldn't tell you which ones. I'll be sure to visit again this year when it stops raining, and also dig through the archives for more photos of this enchanting park. There's lots to see here, and trails to walk. And, with names like these, how can you go wrong?

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Salmon-colored Azaleas in the Rain

Azaleas in the rain at 11th and Harrison, Astoria, Oregon April 20, 2010

I remember how much I enjoyed seeing and photographing this unusual azalea bush last year when it flowered. It was just before I started Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo, and the picture didn't make it into the blog. I don't know of another azalea plant of this color locally, but there may be one. The intersection you see is Harrison and 11th. We're looking west, heading down Harrison, then up again on the other side of 11th Street. I've shown this intersection a couple of times before. Once from the other side (also from Harrison Street), and once from almost this same spot, but with snow on the streets.

Azaleas in the Rain, Astoria, Oregon Like some of the trees and bushes in town, this one has pretty green lichens on the branches.

Azaleas in the Rain, Astoria, Oregon As you can see, it's another wet day. The flowers are a perfect color for a town famous for salmon fishing. Do you agree?

Azaleas in the Rain, Astoria, OregonAre these buds opening or closing? I hope they're opening.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Good Place to Sit along the River Walk

East Mooring Basin from a Bench on the River Walk April 11, 2010

There are a number of benches along the River Walk, good for resting, viewing, tying your shoelaces, lunching, or enjoying the sun. Today it's raining, so I pulled this one out of the archives from a week ago when I spent a lot of time along the waterfront enjoying the day. Most of the benches, if not all, have either donor or memorial plaques, which remind us of our town's people and history, or remind us that it takes people to make the community the pleasant place it is to live.

The buildings on the left are on Pier 39, which has appeared numerous times in this blog. The water to the left is part of East Mooring Basin, and the hill with trees in the background is the peninsula of Tongue Point. The Sheriff's boathouse has just been removed from its unfortunate landing point along Pier 39, and a fishing boat with a blue top is back in its dock.

Spring growth is still in its infancy. Soon the berry bushes will be covered with leaves, with blossoms and blackberries to follow. The dandylions always get an early start.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Fishing Boats in East Mooring Basin

April 11, 2010

This shot was taken on the east side of the pier. The one yesterday of three fishing boats was taken on the west side. Here you can see the Riverside Trolley tracks in the foreground. The rusty line below the hills is the metal and pavement breakwater (or jetty?) for the basin. It's a wonderful structure for walkers, bikers, people who want to fish, etc. Until recently, you could drive onto it, but the entry to the pier is currently closed to vehicles. I'm not sure, but I think the pier or its railings may need repairs.

From the pier, docks stretch out on either side, and at the end of the pier, the long arms of the jetty stretch up- and down-river. You can get a tremendous view of the ships and boats, toss in a fishing line, or just enjoy feeling like you're out in the river. Of course, the jetty also projects the boats. Let's not forget that!

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Skylight to the Underworld

Purple glass squares in the sidewalk February 7, 1010

I love these magical glass squares in the sidewalk, as chipped and mangled as they are. These are in downtown Astoria. I grew up in a small town in Southern California where there were none, and I probably saw my first in Los Angeles while visiting my grandmother. I don't know why I always liked them so much. It may be the lovely shade of gray-purple glass, or maybe the hint that they connect to a hidden world under the sidewalk. Anyway, Astoria has a few of these along Commercial Street and I hope they never disappear, even though they are obviously crumbling with age, traffic, and the elements.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Grounded Dream?

Pipe Dream II - A boat by the side of the road Astoria, Oregon ~ April 11, 2010
39th Street
Pipe Dream II - A boat by the side of the road The Pipe Dream II is permanently parked on 39th Street between Leif Erikson Drive and the River walk. It's seen better days. I wonder whose dream it was, and what happened to it. I enjoy looking at the warping derelict and being reminded that we live in a waterside town with history - as if we needed a lot of reminding.

Pipe Dream II - A boat by the side of the road Does anyone know the story?
I asked this question, and it turned out that "someone" knew. Here's what popped up on Comment Number 8:

Cap'n Rich: That was my boat and I gave it to Floyd Holcomb to show our history in gillnetting. It has a new engine & transmission but all the ribs were falling apart and after only having a few days to fish. It was not financially feasible to continue fishing. I suffered a stroke in 2009 and coming back strong. The boat was built by Alfred Korhonen in 1947, he came back after the war and built the boast. I found where he had been boarded by the Coast Guard and inspected for a number of years starting in the early 1950's.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kids Don't Float

Loaner Life Jackets, Astoria, Oregon In the blue box near the public boat launch ramps at East Mooring Basin are a number of child- and teenager-sized life jackets. Theses loaners are protected by a plexiglas lid, but during daylight hours, there's no padlock on the hasp. Loaner life jackets are intended to save lives. Studies show that while adults in charge routinely buckle toddlers and younger kids into life preservers, older kids and teens are not as likely to be wearing life jackets at the time of a boat accident.

I don't know a lot about this program, except that it was started by a doctor in Homer, Alaska. This installation in Astoria is the first place I've seen the loaner life jackets, and when the box caught my eye last year, I thought it was one of the coolest public safety programs I'd ever seen.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When The Goonies Went to the Store . . .

Goonies' Store, Astoria, OregonWhen The Goonies went to the store, this is where they went. It's just around the corner from their house, which I'll show another time. Signs had been changed to make this building into a grocery store, and I don't know what they did about the unsightly wires and poles, which are a plague for anyone trying to capture this otherwise-photogenic town.

The sign says 37th Street and Lief Erikson Drive. Leif Erikson Drive is an Extension of Marine Drive and is also Highway 30. It's the main drag through Astoria going along the Columbia River. It's also called East Columbia River Highway on some maps, although I've never heard anyone use that name.

Goonies' Store, Astoria, Oregon I tripped over a plant and landed hard on the sidewalk while backing up to get this angle, so I hope any Goonies fans will appreciate the photo. I'm not feeling very charitable towards this location right now, although I like the blue sky.
Addendum: With bruises and sore muscles healing, I can enjoy this photo again. I also want to thank Gayle and Peggy for helping with info. Peggy verified that this is the location used for the store in the movie (I wasn't 100% sure), and Gayle added in a comment: "Sheryl - 'in the day' this was, in fact, a small neighborhood grocery store. Lovvold's Grocery." Thanks to you both!

Street sign with Leif spelled 'Lief' This street sign shows one local spelling of Leif Erikson's name. I wonder what happened?

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Snow on Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain, seen from Warrenton
Warrenton, Oregon ~ April 10, 2010

You can see Saddle Mountain from various points on the south side of Astoria (the Young's Bay side) and from the area around Young's Bay in Warrenton, just across the bay from Astoria. I don't remember seeing snow on it like this before, at least not this late in the year. Or was I not paying attention?

I've hiked to the top a couple of times, and I wonder if I'll do it again this year. There's a very good walking trail most of the way, although it gets slippery near the top. If I go, of course I will share the photos!

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scene of the Photo

Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria, Oregon Here is where I took yesterday's reflection photo. I stood next to the glass window on the left, almost where the center pole holds up the wave-shaped roof. The building is the Columbia River Maritime Museum at 17th Street and the River Walk, which I've shown in previous posts. You can see the Coast Guard boat inside the tinted glass, nose-up on the resin swell. Here's the same section of the museum from another angle.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wind and Waves

Coast Guard Boat, Maritime Museum, Astoria, Oregon April 10, 2010
Alongside the Maritime Museum on the River Walk
46°11'22.81"N 123°49'23.81"W

On the south side of the Columbia River Maritime Museum is a tall glass window with a display inside of a real Coast Guard boat lodged at a rakish angle on resin waves. A recording produces the sounds of the pounding sea and the exchange of boat captains navitaging perilous waters. In today's Weekend Reflections photo you can also see Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column, the museum parking lot, and a wind-tossed photographer.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

River Walk near Safeway

River Walk near Safeway with Clouds February 7, 2010
River Walk near the Safeway Store
46°11'34.37"N 123°48'29.58"W

It seems we're in for some clear weather Saturday, and in case we've forgotten, here's a reminder of what a blue-sky day looks like - this one with strikingly pretty clouds. For non-Astorians, this is the track used by the Astoria Riverfront Trolley. The bench is a nice place to sit just next to the trolley stop, although soon much of the view will be obscured by leaves. Green is just around the corner.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Towboat Called "Captain Bob"

Towboat Captain Bob and tanker Shropshire at Astoria, Oregon Here on April 7th, you can see the long, low towboat Captain Bob about to pass the tanker Shropshire opposite downtown Astoria. There are a lot of "Captain Bobs" on the Web, and most are not boats, but I finally came up with some interesting links:

. A description and notation from the Tacoma Public Library that this is the second Captain Bob, the first having come to a bad end

. A photo upriver from Portland

. An interesting paragraph in a State of Washington document about towboat mishaps and spilled wheat; I also learned that Captain Bob will sometimes push five barges at a time (maybe upriver, but never here near the mouth) (Search the page for "Captain Bob" or scroll to page 15, line 21.)

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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